West Virginia Wrestling

Junior High Report

by Brent Sams

January 9, 2001

I thought I had seen the closest tournament score ever at last year's LKC Tournament when Braxton County edged out Williamstown by one half point. This year's Clash of Champions did one better when Blennerhassett and Edison tied in the championship finals, 39 all. Blennerhassett was declared champions by winning 8 of the 15 matches. When recording the results, I had, without thinking, put both team's records down as 3-0-1. This caused a bit of a stir the next day when the results where posted on WVMAT and the local paper. Some people felt that since it was a tournament and a winner was declared, that Blennerhassett should be 4-0 while Edison should be 3-1 instead of 3-0-1. I honestly don't know and can understand both arguments. I sent an e-mail to Dr. Welker to get an official interpertation but Dr. Welker replied that there is no policy established within the state. So what do you think? Should a tie in an advancing dual tournament count officially as a tie or as a win/loss for the teams? And what about a tie in a Round Robin Dual Tournament? E-mail me your opinions or reply to the forum. I will compile the responses and forward the results to the State Rules Committee to try to get State Policy established on this issue.

State Rankings are now out and Blennerhassett maintains the top spot for a second year. After two duals, only one team point separates Blennerhasssett and number two rank Edison. Blennerhassett was listed first on all but one ballot. Last year, when the state rankings came out, Edison upset the #1 team and it could be deja-vu all over again as the Bobcats and Eagles will meet for a third time in their league regular season matchup. The dual is scheduled as the second round match in a Jamboree at Jackson Jr. High on Tuesday, Jan 9th. First round wrestling will start at 6:00.

Number three seed Moundsville received the other first place vote and has been somewhat isolated from interaction with the top teams because of travel restraints and restrictions between Jr. High and Middle School wrestling in their part of the state. Their snow cancellation from the Clash of Champions will be made up this Saturday when they will go head-to-head with Blennerhassett and Hamilton in what should be showcased as a premier matchup in Jr. High Wrestling. Action gets underway at one o'clock at the Bobcat's gymnasium.

Number four rank Beckley-Stratton has rebounded nicely (ugh, a term from that other winter sport) after tasting defeats in tournaments at the Raleigh County General Hospital and the Point Pleasant Olympic Pool. After a season opening win of last year's number two ranked team, Harpers Ferry, the Bulldogs lost a close battle against currently eighth ranked Beverly Hills and then finished third at the Point Pleasant Olympic Pool behind Point Pleasant and Milton. A week later they took a tour up I-77 and won the Ripley Duals, defeating third place Point Pleasant and second place Huntington. The next day in South Parkersburg, they took revenge on Beverly Hills while finishing third at the Clash. Beckley-Stratton will next mix things up in the North-Central part of the state when they travel to the Buckhannon-Upshur duals.

Fifth rank Harpers Ferry, coming off their best season ever, felt the effects of graduation with their first loss of the season at the Scott Brown Memorial. Later, they proved they were not to be taken lightly by winning the Braxton County Invitational and defeating their rival Charles Town in a dual. They will be at Buckhannon and are strongly considering throwing their hat in the ring at the WSAZ. Charles Town will also be representing the eastern portion of the state at the WSAZ.

After a quick start against Ohio competition, sixth rank Point Pleasant has slowed down a bit in dual competition against the state's better Jr. Highs. Voted as the top middle school, the Pirates have a few holes to fill, which hurts in duals, but have enough quality wrestlers to overcome the forfeits at the WSAZ. They will be one of the favorite Middle School teams in the competition along with Beverly Hills and Milton. Braxton County, voted fifth amongst middle schools, could also be a factor in the Middle School race.

Undefeated Oak Glen has gotten little respect in the polls, which is understandable since they are so far removed from the rest of the state. They were still able to garner enough votes to be rated seventh overall and second in middle schools. Reports from the Northern Panhandle have been slow but should pick up with some upcoming quality tournaments.

Milton and Beverly Hills have been the top two middle school teams out of the Huntington area. Tenth ranked Milton has had good showings at the Ohio-West Virginia Super Duals and the Point Pleasant Olympic Pool, finishing behind Point Pleasant at each event. The Panthers have swapped victories in tournaments with Beverly Hills earlier in the season and a head-to head matchup with the Black Hawks would be a marquee event. They are scheduled to meet is a quad on Jan. 16th.

Ninth ranked Jackson and Hamilton Jr. Highs proved there are other quality teams in Wood County by their strong showing at the Clash. Jackson missed out on the Championship Round Robin with a narrow defeat to Beverly Hills and then went on to beat Point Pleasant, Hamilton and Williamstown for fifth place. The Generals are considering making their first appearance this year at the WSAZ. Hamilton finished seventh at the Clash ahead of Huntington.

The top freshmen team is Huntington. An early victory at the Trojan Invitational and an impressive outing at the Ripley Duals makes this team noteworthy. They will have to be reckoned with at the WSAZ from all schools.

The WSAZ tournament is less than two weeks away. Some interesting races will be involved in the team races with Blennerhassett, Point Pleasant and Huntington being the early favorites in their divisions. Blennerhassett will be challenged by Edison, Beckley-Stratton, Charles Town and Harpers Ferry (if they show). Point will be strongly pushed by Beverly Hills, Milton and Braxton County. Ripley Middle School will have a couple of top seeded individuals and a strong outings from other team members could factor them into the top three middle schools. Huntington should run away with the Freshmen Title but never count out Cabell Midland. Riverside, Herbert Hoover and Ripley will also compete as one of the top three freshmen teams.

MYSTERY QUESTION Can someone help answer my wife's question? She wants to know why wrestlers are penalized for holding hands (locking hands) and not for smacking each other on the derriere? I just shake my head and reply, "I don't know". I don't think she really knows why I'm shaking my head.

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